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Synthetic biology; Open source; Open technologies, IP; Innovation; Department of Plant Sciences; School of Biological Sciences

Dr Jennifer Molloy is the Coordinator of the Synthetic Biology at Cambridge Strategic Research Initiative and OpenPlant, two initiatives connecting biology and engineering at the University of Cambridge and acting as a hub for researchers, commercial partners and external collaborators. Jennifer is also a Director of two Cambridge-based non-profits: Biomakespace, a community lab for team projects at the interface of biology and ContentMine, producing open source software to mine the scientific literature.

Her broader interests are in the effects of open and open source technologies and working practices on science and innovation, specifically in biological research. This includes the types of institutions and frameworks that can promote open collaboration and equitable access to technologies and ultimately better understanding the contexts in which openness delivers impactful benefits to science and society.

Increased access to biological knowledge and resulting technologies is intended to have a trickle-down impact on the lives of the world’s poorest 3 billion people through enabling distributed and local innovation in vital areas such as health, environment, food and energy. Open systems are designed to promote participation and co-creation from multiple publics and beneficiaries.

Jennifer’s motivation for almost 10 years of volunteering with open knowledge and open science communities and now focusing full-time on related work stems from a belief that the current systems for producing and disseminating science are not fit for leveraging the full extent of humanity's combined knowledge to tackle global challenges like the SDGs. Jennifer believes that we need to try alternative modes of discovery and innovation, such as those explored in Michael Nielsen's "Reinventing Discovery" and Janet Hope's "Biobazaar: The Open Source Revolution and Biotechnology". 


Cambridge Global Challenges is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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